Cabinet to discuss options for 2019/20 budget
Posted on Wednesday 5th December 2018
Cabinet members will meet next week to discuss the budget
Newport City Council’s Cabinet will meet next week to discuss options for the 2019/20 budget.
The council provides more than 800 services for more than 151,000 people living in more than 65,000 households.
Councillor Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “We have been absolutely consistent in our message – the challenge in local government has been growing over many years now and while cuts have been made across the public sector, there is no doubt that we have taken the brunt.
“The pressures and demands we are facing continue to grow – and show absolutely no sign of diminishing in the future. Despite this, the funding we receive has stayed more or less the same and that means the gap between the money we get and what we have to spend keeps getting bigger. In 2019/20 the council faces a shortfall of over £15 million to fund the same level of services.
“Many services are being stretched almost to breaking point but we have fewer staff and resources to meet ever-increasing needs.”
The main pressures in Newport include:
- An aging population becoming increasingly dependent on care; requiring more complex and expensive packages to help keep people in their own homes. The costs of providing packages of care have risen from £33 million in 2015/16 to a forecasted £39 million this year.
- The number of children needing out of area placements to meet their safeguarding needs rose by 108 per cent between 2015/16 and this year.
- Children in independent foster care rose by 72 per cent
- Three new schools have been built since 2015/16 and there are 850 additional pupils
- There are 191 more pupils with additional learning needs
- The council’s workforce has reduced by a quarter but, even based on a below-inflation rate of one per cent, staffing costs will increase by £6.4 million in 2019/20 and £14.4 million over the next four years.
Councillor Wilcox added: “We have already made significant savings and efficiencies – £45 million over the last five years. Although there are more incredibly difficult decisions that will have to be made for the coming year, we are actually in a stronger position than many other councils. Several years of changing the way we work and delivering services in new and innovative ways has certainly been to our credit.
“The real challenge however is that we want to do more than just provide the basic services that we have to provide by law – we want to ensure Newport is an attractive place to live, thereby attracting employers and creating jobs. That is why we must also make sure we invest in a strategic way.”
Areas of investment that will be considered by Cabinet include:
- £3,178k investment in school budgets
- £2,625k for increasing demand in social care for both children and adult services
- £1,170k due to increasing demand for special education needs provision
- £525k costs associated with increasing pressures given the growth and development within the city
- £220k investment to deliver the promises set out within the Corporate Plan.
The council budget this year for day-to-day spending on services – not one-off or capital projects – is £275 million. However, due to ongoing public sector austerity, even more ‘new’ savings must still be found – at least £33m by 2023.
Cabinet will consider a number of proposals that seek to deliver a balanced budget at their meeting on Wednesday 12 December - https://democracy.newport.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=7094&Ver=4
Following that meeting, a full public consultation will take place until 30 January 2019. More information will be available at www.newport.gov.uk/budget including an online survey.